Messengers of Peacebuilding

The Project: Messengers of Peacebuilding
On May 9th the Unites States Institute of Peace held the inaugural Sheikha Fatima Lectureship at its headquarters in Washington, DC. This event featured four distinguished women leaders who examined the critical importance and the impact of communicating stories of women and peacebuilding through media, public affairs, film, and philanthropy.

Client: United States Institute of Peace
Our Part: Post Production ( Maren Wickwire )
Credits: Producer: Art Works Projects
Creative Director: Leslie Thomas
DP: Ron Haviv

Men, Peace & Security - Agents of Change

The Project: Men, Peace & Security - Agents of Change

The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), The World Bank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) – North America, Women in International Security (WIIS), Promundo – US, and Sonke Gender Justice co-hosted a symposium titled Men, Peace & Security: Agents of Change at USIP on October 28-30, 2013. This symposium aimed to better understand how the ascribed norms of men and masculine identities contribute to, and may even help mitigate, violent conflict and post-conflict.

Client: ART WORKS Projects / USIP

Our Part:
Post Production

Produced by: ART WORKS Projects
Directed by Leslie Thomas
Cinematography: Ron Haviv

BLOOD/STONES: Burmese Rubies

The Project: BLOOD/STONES: Burmese Rubies
Creating a video trailer for the exhibit Blood/Stones produced by ART WORKS Projects to introduce the concept to new venues and donors
Reflecting on the exploitation of a country and featuring the photography of Christian Holst.

Client:  ART WORKS Projects
Our Part: Concept, DP, Post Production, Motion Graphics
Producer, Interviews: ART WORKS Projects:
DP: Christian Holst:

Island in the Sun - Multimedia Exhibition

Despite devastation that followed by the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus in 1974, the so-called “economic miracle” of the late 1970s and 1980s brought growth to the Greek south. A lack of low-skilled laborers prompted Cyprus to open its doors to foreign workers in 1990, abandoning the restrictive immigration policies. In 2004, Cyprus joined the EU. These two factors have lead to a steadily increasing immigration rate on the island over the past two decades.


Feature 1

As growing numbers of people displaced by nearby conflict zones try to reach Europe, the island’s vulnerable populations have also increased, and proven an easy target for exploitation. In hopes of escaping the cycle of poverty and hardship, families and young adults in developing countries sign away their homes or take out high risk loans, all to pay thousands of dollars to so called employment agencies to obtain work visas overseas and so enter Cyprus. For many people, the future looks quite dark and without much to lose, people take the chance when being offered a lucrative job, hoping to reach something better on the other side.


Feature 2

After the oil drilling company in his home region of Gorj, Romania, laid off workers, Ilie was left without income in one of the poorest countries in Europe. Following job leads from his former colleague back home, Ilie saved up for a flight to Cyprus where he was hoping to find better living conditions and financial stability for his wife, son and blind mother who he had left behind. Shortly after his arrival Ilie found work on a construction site, working with heavy machinery, gas and fire, he made about 35 Euros a day. 


Feature 3

Working with heavy duty equipment for a construction company, Ilie had a tragic work accident while handling a gas barrel that exploded right in front of him. When Ilie was rushed to the hospital with severe burns, he found out that his employer had stopped paying for his insurance only after a couple of weeks. Despite taking antibiotics and other affordable medicine, the health care he received was insufficient. After a year and a half, his leg is still infected and his daily life is impacted by the injury. Currently he has no income and lives in a barrack without electricity and water. Until his healing is complete, he won't be able to take another job offer. He longs to go home and be with his family.

Many of the foreign workers expect to arrive in Europe's mainland with fairly good integration policies and welcoming communities, but instead are landing on contested lands, where the media and public debate circles around allegations that migrants and asylum seekers receive too many benefits and are responsible for the rise in crime, car accidents, and diseases.

Although the land is divided, the victims of trafficking that are being held by corrupt businesses are regularly trafficked across borders. Ironically, the police and government officials on either end of the conflict do not cooperate,  while the mafia on both sides communicates and works well together.

Women Mediating Peace in Colombia

A collaboration with Unites States Institute of Peace and ART WORKS Projects

Synopsis: Women have played groundbreaking roles in Colombia’s peace process between the government and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC. With a peace agreement in sight and on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2016, we created this video documenting efforts to strengthen the capacities of Colombia’s women as mediators, supported by the United States Institute of Peace.

Directors: Leslie Thomas & Maren Wickwire (Manifest Media)
Camerawork & Editing: Maren Wickwire
Associate Producer: Claire Dillon
Funded by the United States Institute of Peace

Loom Chicago

The Project:
LOOM is a group of creative and enterprising women, working in collaboration with local Chicago designers to produce beautiful, handmade products. Learn more about the artisans and their beautiful products at

Client: Catholic Charities
Our Part: Concept, Creative Direction,
Cinematography, Post Production

ART WORKS Projects


Monthly event to highlight current issues and exhibitions at the ART WORKS Projects studio in Chicago.

Video for ART WORKS Projects fundraiser.

The Project: SEE CHANGE
A video that introduces ART WORKS’ mission, which
includes projects exposing genocide, extreme sexual violence, women’s rights, famine, child labor and human trafficking, ethnic cleansing and tyranny. ART WORKS selects topics which are the most intractable, the least covered in the mainstream media, and the most abusive for victims. (Image above: visitors entering the James Cohan Gallery in NYC to see Congo/Women)

Client: ART WORKS Projects

Our Part:
Creative Co-Producer/ Direction
Post Production

Co-Producer/ Director: Leslie Thomas

We came back with empty hands

Client: Eastern Congo Initiative
Project: We came back with empty hands

The goal of this research project is to share lessons learned from past reintegration processes to improve future programming for former underage combatants and youth at-risk for joining armed groups. 

Our Part:
Art Direction
Post Production
Motion Graphics



ART WORKS Projects is pleased to announce the launch of Transitions, a four-part international cultural exchange between the cities of Chicago, Bogotá, Goma, and Sarajevo.

With major support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Transitions will bring together creative teams from Bogotá, Colombia; Chicago, Illinois; Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This group will co-curate a photography exhibition to highlight several national journeys of transitional justice in post-conflict environments.

This project will consider multiple aspects of post-conflict society and challenges and successes at varying stages of transitional justice, from across the centuries to recently established zones of fragile peace. It will foster a discussion of varied definitions of otherness and the difficulties these multi-faceted communities face. By sharing diverse post-conflict experiences, Transitions will foster the development of new ideas and solidarity among fellow global citizens.

Client: ART WORKS Projects

Directors: Maren Wickwire
Camerawork & Editing: Maren Wickwire
Associate Producer: Claire Dillon

The Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC) and the WARM Foundation, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Photographer Midhat Poturovic

Centro Nacional De Memoria Histórica, Bogotá, Colombia
Photographer Juan Arredondo

Yole!Africa, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
Photographer Martin Lukongo

ART WORKS Projects, Chicago, United States
Photographer Sophia Nahli Allison

Client: Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Our Part:
Creative Direction: Maren Wickwire
Post Production: Maren Wickwire

The Project: We came Back
This video introduces a research project done by the Eastern Congo Initiative and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
Understanding the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Children Formerly Associated with Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Campaign for THE PROSECUTORS Documentary

The Project:  Kickstarter Campaign for THE PROSECUTORS

The Prosecutors is the compelling story of Amani and Jasmin, two dedicated lawyers who fight to make sure that survivors of sexual violence in conflict get access to justice. The film was conceived out of a belief that the law is for everyone, especially those who have lived through unimaginable crimes during war - whether it be yesterday or twenty years ago.

Client: Art Works Projects

Our Part: Co-directed by Leslie Thomas and Maren Wickwire
Post Production: Maren Wickwire
Title design: Desiree Agngarayngay